Jessica Fujimoto ’16 says it was love at first sight when she arrived on the Coastal Georgia campus.
“I knew I wanted to be here after my first campus visit as a junior in high school. Coach Jeff Huebner recruited me; he had been my club coach in Normal, Illinois. I was excited about participating in a new program and laying the foundation of volleyball at Coastal,” the serving specialist on the 2014 SSAC championship volleyball team began. “Then I experienced a sports injury, but decided to come to Georgia whether I played volleyball or not.”
She became involved in campus life as soon as she arrived. As a freshman, she was appointed to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership Board and currently serves as vice president of the campus FCA chapter. A friend on the tennis team talked her into running for a Student Government Association at-large position as a sophomore and now, as a junior, she is SGA vice president. Again, it was the idea of influencing the future that motivated her.
“I view SGA’s role as providing feedback to the College administration. We represent the voice of the traditional students and athletes, helping to shape the college experience here,” she continued. “We’re blessed with a College president who encourages student involvement. We have a phenomenal team on SGA and I see changes on campus that are based on students’ issues and input.”
Fujimoto is the recipient of a Brunswick Rotary Club scholarship and works part time, baking gluten-free goodies for Wake Up Coffee in Brunswick.
“I stayed with a local family in Brunswick between my freshman and sophomore years. I kept wishing for gluten-free brownies at Wake Up. I’m allergic to dairy, eggs and gluten, so I ended up developing my own recipes,” she explained. “My chocolate peanut butter gluten-free cookies were such a hit, they won me a place on the coffee shop’s menu.”
Her summer job this year at Take A Bite, a vegan and gluten-free restaurant in Bloomington, Illinois, confirmed her dream of pursuing the restaurant business as a career. “Students with allergies need to feel safe. They also need affordable food. That’s become a mission – and an opportunity – for me,” she declared.
A business major, Fujimoto switched tracks from culinary arts to general business. “I really didn’t want to be preparing foods I couldn’t eat myself, so I decided to concentrate on learning the skills to operate my own business. I hope to spend spring break looking at a broad perspective of food cultures, beyond the Midwest, and I’d like to intern with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms to get a better understanding of the food system, from farm to table.”
For this summer, she is applying for an internship with the California Fellowship of Christian Athletes Volleyball (FCAV). The 10-week summer internship includes playing and training in both indoor and beach volleyball, coaching volleyball in South Carolina and developing areas of the Southern California FCAV ministry. “This opportunity connects volleyball players from all around the country to sharpen leadership skills, both on and off the court, and to keep learning about God.”
She concluded, “I want every student to love Coastal Georgia as much as I do. I want this to be their best possible experience – absolutely no regrets. The staff and faculty are amazing. They are always willing to help, always reassuring and connecting. This College isn’t just taking my money. They are committed to my success, even after graduation!”